Early man documented their life in pictures – as has man throughout the ages.
Drawing was the first method that man used to tell stories and communicate. And after the important discovery of fire, the early form of “wood burning” was invented.
Follow us through the remarkable history and development of this art and the tools over the ages. That this art form has stood the test of time, is a testament to its durability and charm.
This ancient art form is very much alive today with beautiful and decorative products being created at home and on a commercial scale worldwide.
By using the charcoal that remained from their fires; early man discovered they could create patterns, designs, and drawings on their walls. The natural progression of man’s intuition aided their progression from using stone (or much later – metal). They discovered that scraping off the burnt black surface allowed the underlying natural wood to show through.
This inspired the creation of designs and patterns in a different form.
Unfortunately, this method did not create permanent works of art. Much later in mans evolution in technology – the employment of metal implements meant that basic pyrography tools were manufactured. When looking back into the history of pyrography, you will find more permanent artworks having been burnt onto leather, wood and even bone.
Using heated metal objects directly from the fire to burn their preferred medium, meant permanent art was created.
This very simple, but effective method was in use until Medieval times.
The story of pyrography kept in step with man as he progressed throughout the ages, with wood burning techniques evolving too.
Interesting and beautiful artifacts have been found in Peru and Roman Britain dating back to before the 1st century.
With the progression of time over the centuries, particularly the Medieval, Renaissance and Victorian eras, wood burning became a more and more popular pastime.
A wood burning toolkit during these eras consisted of a portable pot or stove. There were a number of holes made in the lid or stove top. These allowed pointed pokers of varying shaped “nibs” to be inserted and heated in the hot coals placed inside. The pokers or rods would tend to cool off quickly while they were being used, therefore several pokers were required in order to keep the momentum of work going.
This method of early wood burning was called “pokerwork”.
The progression of “pokerwork” from being a hobby or pastime of the wealthy and jobs for local craftsmen – to a commercial endeavor, happened with the invention of the first machine.
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